Airlines not a topic at pre-MH17 Ukraine meeting

The Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crash site in Ukraine. Source: Twitter/ @mashable. (The Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crash site in Ukraine. Source: Twitter/ @mashable)

The safety of airlines was not mentioned once during the three days before flight MH17 was shot down. At the time, the Ukrainian government had nothing to say on the matter and Europe still underestimated the conflict.

This is according to the American ambassador to Kiev, Geoffrey Pyatt, who was present at the meeting, in an interview with Dutch newspaper AD. During the meeting. An anti-aircraft device that can shoot high enough to hit civilian aircraft was discussed for the first time during this meeting. The Dutch government did not think it necessary to warn airlines about this after the meeting.

According to Pyatt, no one took danger to civilian aircraft into consideration. "In my recollection no one of the Ukrainian government warned that civilian aircraft was in danger at the meeting on July 14th," he said to AD. There were many meetings at that time because Kiev was "trying to make it clear to the international community what was happening in eastern Ukraine".

"I remember that there was a lot of skepticism in the meetings: is it really the Russians, is this not just a local uproar? At that time we were already convinced of Russian involvement, but not our allies. Particularly in the European countries there was a lot of skepticism." According to Pyatt, that contributed to the fact that no one thought of civilian aircraft may being in danger. "I can only speak for myself, but the idea that the Russian-backed separatists would shoot down a civilian unit, was very far away from anything that I could imagine."